It had been two days. With her hands bound before her, the other end of that short leash always held by one of the two of them, she had little choice but to walk. Her only other option was to be dragged, and she had the feeling that at least the smaller one would enjoy that.
The shorter man, compact but barely a few inches taller than she, had a loud mouth—at least when it came to her. He said little to his companion, and those few phrases had been respectful compared to the abuse he heaped on Sera. For her, he seemed to hold a special hatred. She got the impression it was because she worked so hard to deny him the sadistic pleasure of watching her kick and scream.
It amused her, that he was so invested in her reactions. He was like a schoolyard bully, only happy when he upset someone else. It would be pointless for her to cry and beg, and would only feed his sadism, so she concentrated on her plan and ignored him.
Her plan, if it could be called that, hadn’t made much progress over the two days she’d been with her captors. For while the first man was comically easy to bother, there was the matter of the second.
The taller man, larger built and with long, dark hair, posed a serious problem to any plan Sera might contrive to escape. He spoke little, but his grey eyes seemed to notice everything. Even now, as the shorter man jerked on the rope that bound her hands, she had barely stumbled before he was there. His hand closed around her arm—she hadn’t realized how much larger he was, that his fingers touched around her bicep—and he roughly kept her on her feet. While one might mistake his silence for stupidity, she could sense the power between her two captors. The large man was unmistakably in charge.
The girl’s silence was starting to grate on him. At first, Geoff had been glad not to have to hear the usual, “Who are you? Where are you taking me?” After two days of walking, though, it was becoming unnerving. They had removed her gag when they were far enough into the woods, but the girl still hadn’t said a word. She just walked obediently between him and Hunter, hands bound in front of her and eyes on the ground. If he wasn’t careful, he almost forgot she was there.
Geoff refused to think that she was so quiet because she dreaded their destination. Instead, he vilified her, convincing himself that she was trying to guilt them into releasing her. As time went on, he began to resent her more, telling himself that she was just pouting, that he shouldn’t give in to her childish behavior. He refused to start feeling bad for her.
In moments, however, when he was less careful about his thoughts, he began to see that she had known someone was coming for her. She knew what they were bringing her to, and looked upon her fate with resigned dread. But he wouldn’t admit that he was taking her to torment and most likely to death. He preferred to think that she was manipulating them, and made himself angry with her for it.
To that end, he began to abuse her. During the day, he set the pace. Hunter’s silence when the pace became punishing encouraged him, and he would insult her when she fell behind him.
“Move that ass, slut,” he hissed on the third morning as she struggled to rise past the protesting muscles in her legs. She didn’t even look at him, and so he went on, refusing to admit to himself that all he wanted was a reaction from this unflappable girl. “What, bitch, you think you’re better than me? Well let me tell you, I’ll be there when the warlord knocks your little pedestal out from under you, and I’ll laugh. Oh, yeah, I’ll laugh my ass off.” She was finally on her feet, eyes on the ground, and he turned away, grinding his teeth. He missed the single tear that hit the pine needles at her feet.